Articles

  1. Using AM Protein & Creatine Together

    Creatine and whey protein are two of the most popular muscle building supplements around and combining them is an extremely effective way of maximising your potential gains. Both of these supplements have an effect on recovery and the creation of new muscle tissue that synergise well with one another, and because the body processes them in different ways taking them together does not cause any negative effects or reduce their efficacy.

    Taking them together

    A study published in 2001 in the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" showed that those who combined creatine with whey protein experienced the most gains in strength when compared to groups using no supplements or taking either creatine or whey protein alone. They also experienced greater increases in performance and improved muscle growth and volume.

    When to take them

    As whey protein is quickly absorbed and processed by the body it is perfect for the recovery period post-workout while you have a depleted store of nutrients to provide your muscles with the fuel they need to repair the micro tears caused by heavy exercise. The time you choose to take the creatine is less important, though there is some evidence that taking a post-workout shake containing whey protein and creatine along with a drink containing simple carbohydrates can create an insulin spike, drawing amino acids and other nutrients into the muscles and in turn increasing protein synthesis and creatine uptake.

    Why don’t we put creatine in with our protein powders?

    While it might be easy to find a generic recovery product that contains a blend of whey protein and creatine, at AMSport we decided against packaging our products in this way simply because a one size fits all approach to supplementation just isn’t as effective. Every person will have different requirements in order to get the most out of their supplements, and by keeping them separate our customers are able to tailor our products to their specific needs.

    As our creatine is made from 100% high quality Creapure you don’t need a high dosage of it to get the benefits you’re looking for. In fact, as little as 1-3g a day of AMSport Creatine is sufficient for the vast majority of athletes, much less than you might find in other products that might use lower quality ingredients. Not only does using Creapure mean you need less to achieve the same effect it also helps to eliminate the unpleasant side effects some people report after taking creatine it also ensures that it has no effect on the taste of your beverage (unless you choose to use our lemon and lime flavoured effervescent tablets!)

    By keeping our whey protein and creatine separate we make it easier for each individual to find their correct dosage and achieve the right balance for them. You won’t need to worry about going through a loading phase with your creatine or having to cycle off of it, and you’re still able to ramp up your protein intake as required without overloading your body with creatine that you can’t process.

    Health benefits of AM whey protein

    • Contains essential amino acids and BCAAs
    • Helps create new muscle mass
    • Aids recovery and repair of muscle tissue
    • Complete protein source
    • Helps immune system function

    Health benefits of AM creatine

    • 100% Creapure
    • Protects muscles and makes them more durable
    • Allows you to do more before feeling tired
    • Burns fat
    • Increases protein synthesis and body’s ability to produce energy
    • Improves brain power and focus
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  2. Fluid Balance: The Importance of Proper Hydration

    Sometimes the simplest things are the ones easiest to overlook. When you’ve got a supplement plan, training schedule, and a diet to try to stick to, remembering to make sure you’re taking on enough water can easily slip through the mental cracks. Even experienced athletes can be unaware of just how important proper hydration is, not just to your workouts, but to your overall health.

    Water is by far the most abundant chemical substance in the body, making up some 95% of the brain and 75% of muscle tissue. It also serves a number of important functions that keep you healthy. It acts as a messenger, a building material, and as a solvent delivering nutrients. It helps regulate body temperature, maintain cell pressure and keeps the concentrations of various body fluids in check. It’s unsurprising then that even mild dehydration can have such a big effect on the way our bodies work.

    Performance

    One of the most obvious effects of dehydration is muscle cramps. You need water to make your muscles contract and relax and you need water to transport nutrients to the muscle tissue and carry away the waste. If the concentrations of electrolytes in your body aren’t kept within healthy ranges then nerve function will be impaired, and as nerves control the muscles, performance and control can be set back even further. If you’re trying to pack on some muscle, making sure you’re maintaining a proper fluid balance is essential.

    What’s less immediately obvious however is just how badly dehydration can impair your performance across the board. Studies have shown that a 2% liquid loss correlates to about a 10% loss in power right across the board. If you’re an elite athlete whose success is dependent on fine margins and who trains to extract every last drop of performance, a drop of 10% can instantly cancel out gains you’ve made over years of hard training. Even for recreational athletes this loss of power can damage the progress you’ve made and keep you from achieving your personal goals. All those after work weight sessions and weekend runs won’t have been for nothing, but you won’t be seeing the gains you expected.

    Other symptoms to look out for

    The effects of dehydration range from mild to severe. Feeling light headed or dizzy, cramping muscles, or a noticeably dry mouth are early warning signs that you’re not taking on enough fluids. You might stop sweating altogether even during intense exercise while your body tries to retain as much water as it can, putting you at risk of heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include faster breathing, a faster heartbeat, extreme mental fatigue (possibly including disorientation and delusions), loss of consciousness and seizures. If you or someone you’re training with starts exhibiting any of these symptoms then call for immediate emergency medical attention, as untreated heatstroke can be fatal.

    Principles of proper hydration

    • Keep taking in fluids throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty
    • 300 - 500ml of fluids 20 - 30 minutes before the training session to make sure you’re optimally prepared for your workout
    • Avoid excessively cold drinks, 10-15°C is ideal
    • Another 300 - 500ml sports drink will help replace the water and electrolytes lost through training.
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  3. What's In Your Drink? An Athlete's Guide to Hydration

    What's In Your Drink? An Athlete's Guide to Hydration

    Unfortunately, sometimes proper hydration is not as simple as just taking an extra bottle of tap water with you next time you head to the gym. The best type of drink in each scenario is determined by your fluid absorption rates. The higher the carbohydrate content of your drink, the slower it can travel through the stomach and be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine. A really sugary drink then might not be the best choice in the middle of training as it will take too long to work it’s way through your body to maintain proper hydration and if you’re exercising for long periods of time normal bottled or tap water won’t provide your body with a replacement electrolytes for those lost through sweat. Isotonic drinks strike a nice balance between pure water and sugary sports drinks, allowing for relatively fast hydration while supplying your body with lots of electrolytes and other nutrients.

    Depending on the type of exercise you’re doing, it’s best to stick to water, isotonic drinks, or heavily diluted sports drinks before and during training. Once you’re done for the day though, a sports drink high in sugars, carbs, electrolytes, and even a little protein can be just what you need to get yourself rehydrated.

    In order to make sure you’re choosing the right drink for the right situation it’s important to know what the label is telling you about the contents of your drink. Beverages marketed towards athletes generally fall under three different types, each of which are absorbed by the body in different ways.

    • Hypotonic drinks have a concentration of sodium and sugars lower than the concentration of fluids in the body. They’re low in carbohydrates, but good at helping you replenish lost fluids quickly.
    • Hypertonic drinks have a higher concentration than the body. They’re absorbed more slowly and when taken during exercise, unless properly diluted, can actually lead to you losing even more water than you were before. This is why hypertonic sports drinks are usually consumed after a workout to help your body replenish lost carbohydrates, glycogen, and electrolytes.
    • Isotonic drinks contain a concentration roughly similar to that of bodily fluids. Isotonic drinks are very easily absorbed and are great for rehydrating the body during exercise while providing a small boost of carbohydrates and electrolytes.

    When your workout can lead to a very high loss of liquid, for example in the case of running a marathon, drinking only water can cause hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition that leaves the body with abnormally low levels of sodium. In these situations it is extremely important to make sure the fluids you take on contain sodium.

    Keeping yourself properly hydrated will ensure that you’re seeing the benefits of all of the work you’ve been doing in the gym. More than that though it might also leave you feeling less stressed, less fatigued, and just healthier overall!

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